« AnteriorContinuar »
ative of his unsurpassed abilities as a man of deep, penetrating, far. reaching, and comprehensive mind. His mind, indeed, seemed to grow clearer as he advanced in years; and the very latest speeches, though not so striking to superficial hearers, will be regarded hereafter, by close and competent readers, as the most finished of all the productions of his tongue and pen.
One result, it is to be earnestly hoped, will not fail to follow a general circulation of these master pieces among the generous youth of Mr. Webster's native land. It is to be hoped that his style of elocution, calm, slow, dignified, natural, unambitious, and yet direct and powerful, will take the place of that showy, flowery, flashy, fitful and boisterous sort of speaking, which seems to be becoming too common, which so breaks down the health of the speaker, and which is nevertheless most likely to strike the feelings and corrupt the judgment of the young. Let me here say plainly, that, having heard Mr. Webster speak very frequently, on almost every variety of occasion, I have never heard him, even when most excited, raise his voice higher, or sink it lower, or utter his words more rapidly than he could do consistently with the most perfect ease, and with the utmost dignity of movement. He never played the orator. He never seemed to be making any effort. What he had to say he said as easily, as naturally, and yet as forcibly as possible, with such a voice as he used in common conversation, only elevated and strengthened to meet the demands of his large audiences. So intent did he seem to be, so intent he certainly was, in making his hearers see and feel as he did, in relation to the subject of the hour, that no one thought of his manner, or whether he had any manner, till the speech was over. That is oratory, true oratory; and it is to be hoped that the more general distribution of these master-pieces will have the ultimate effect of making it the American standard of oratory from this age to all future ages.
CLIFTON SPRINGS, October, 1854.